PSTA unveils AVA, an electric self-driving vehicle that will operate on Bayshore Drive in St. Pete

Image of a light orange self-driving car on the waterfront
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The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) just unveiled its new self-driving car AVA, which stands for Autonomous Vehicle Advantage. The Pilot Launch is set for Monday, November 23. AVA will transport residents and visitors up and down Bayshore Drive.

PSTA is always looking for innovative ways to help safely connect people to places. As autonomous
vehicle technology is becoming more advanced, PSTA is exploring its potential use in Pinellas County. During its three-month pilot, AVA will be looking to gain feedback on how the community feels about the possibility of using Autonomous Vehicles as a transit option in the future.

One of the first autonomous vehicles to operate in mixed use traffic

AVA is one of the first autonomous vehicle programs in the state to operate in mixed use traffic, on an open road next to other vehicles.

This vehicle is also eco-friendly. The 100% electric vehicle can drive for 9 hours on just a few dollars of electricity. In addition, fewer moving parts means less environmental impact due to reduced maintenance and AVA has no consumable fluids onboard, like oil or engine coolant, that can harm the environment.

AVA operates on Bayshore Drive between 5th Avenue N (The Vinoy Hotel) and Dali Blvd (The Dali Museum). Perfect for those enjoying a stay at the Vinoy, or residents in the Old Ne who want to efficiently visit The Pier, the Saturday Morning Market, or The Dali Museum.

Enjoy free rides aboard AVA

AVA operates from 10:00am -10:00pm Wednesday through Sunday. AVA offers rides free to the public and air-conditioned. Passengers are limited to one round trip. AVA will be operational from November 25th, 2020 – February 15th, 2021.

To keep AVA’s passengers and copilots safe from COVID-19, capacity is currently limited to 6 passengers in the same party and 4 passengers in different parties. Passengers will be asked to sit in a pattern that allows for social distancing and must wear a mask when riding.

Safety precautions for passengers 

Similar to PSTA’s policy, passengers and attendants onboard AVA are always required to wear a mask. Beep has implemented several processes and procedures in light of COVID-19. AVA’s copilots undergo a temperature check before the start of every shift and are required to wear masks when on board. Disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer stations are available on AVA for copilots and passengers to use.

AVA can travel up to 15mph on the road.

Do you plan to use AVA? Let us know in the comments.

Love what we do at I Love the ‘Burg? 

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We’ve also just launched a Toy Drive to benefit R’Club Childcare, Inc. Consider dropping off toy donations at your local Kahwa Coffee. Full details HERE.

Do you part and help those in need in Pinellas County. Volunteer with Neighborly Careand help deliver meals to seniors throughout the St. Petersburg area.

Want to learn how to connect with non-profits in the region? Visit The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay’s website to learn about the work they’ve done in the Tampa Bay community with countless non-profit organizations. They’ve also launched a new Mental Health First Aid initiative which aims to train 5,000 in the region. Learn how you can get involved HERE.

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Written by Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan is the Editor of ilovetheburg.com. Follow him on Twitter @harlanyoungII and Instagram @harlanyoung. Send tips and potential stories to info@ilovetheburg.com.